How Cats Domesticated Us Twice


I don’t get it. My dog Riley comes when I call, he does tricks
on command, and basically lives to please me. He’s a good boy! My cat Olive pretty much ignores me … unless
I’m spooning tuna into her bowl or she decides it’s time for me to pet her. (Is that the right spot, your highness?) Basically, I’m here for her. I love her, but I’m not in control. So, I was surprised to learn that not only
did we domesticate cats over 10,000 years ago—we did it twice! I can’t even get my cat to do something
once! How did we convince these finicky felines
to move in? We didn’t. It was probably their idea. Even though cats are domesticated animals—coming
from the Latin word “Dom” for home and meaning that the animal began living with,
and then became dependent on, us— it’s more accurate to say that cats domesticated
themselves. And, sorry cat-lovers, but cats weren’t
the first animals to do so. That honor goes to the dogs. Dogs—or their wolfy ancestors—fell in
love with us the moment we started the whole hunting and cooking over fire thing. They scavenged. They ate our garbage and begged for our scraps. (Mine still does! OK, Riley, here you go.) Dogs let us train them to help us with things
like hunting, and even managing herds of other domesticated animals, like sheep. Cats, of all kinds, were lurking around those
same camp fires, but they had no interest in helping us hunt or herd, and—if we tried—our
attempts to train them failed. Although larger cats shared our taste for
things like rabbits, we didn’t need an animal whose main skill is stretching in the sun
and lounging around the cave in really cool shapes… until the revolution! I’m not talking about French Cake or Tea
Parties, I mean the Agricultural revolution. We started planting edible food, like grain. And when we got good enough leave something
over after harvest, we started storing it. At which point, you could say, we domesticated
rats and mice. No one does say that, though, because, although
mice did move in with us—and did become dependent on us—we couldn’t stand them! It’s not that they weren’t cute, but they
were really bad roommates. They ate all our grain, left a mess, and brought
disease. (Plus, those bald tails freaked our ancestors
out.) What to do? Chasing mice is futile and they’re really
hard to catch. That’s when history’s very first crazy
Uncle Alex started trying to build a better mousetrap… And that’s when cats found their niche in
the human world. Cats love mice! They can’t get enough of them! Which explains a lot about our relationship
with cats. We might not agree on everything—like if
the cat needs to go out—then in—then out—but—then in—we get along. Because no Uncle Alex can build a better mousetrap
than a cat. Wherever people stored grain, rats and mice
moved in, and then cats showed up to catch them. It wasn’t long before people started encouraging
the kitties to stay. Maybe not offering them the best spot in front
of the fire, but…. letting them take it. (Ever try to argue with a cat?) And maybe even building them a temple or two. If you still have doubts over who’s serving
whom, consider this: the Egyptians worshipped a cat deity, Bastet. So, you tell me who has the power on the cat/human
continuum. And while the Romans didn’t bow before kitties,
they did use cats as a symbol of liberty. In other words, you may be your dog’s master,
but your cat is a freelancer. That’s not the only difference. Dogs—like pugs, dachshunds or poodles—have
morphed so far away from their wolfy ancestors; it can be hard to believe they’re related. But compare a tabby cat, or Felis Catus, to
her ancestor, Felis Sylvestris, also called the African Wild Cat or “Middle Eastern
Wildcat.” OK, people who study these things will tell
you that today’s housecats look really different from Felis Sylvestris, but I disagree. Yes, they are a little smaller and a lot friendlier. But the supposedly big difference that gets
cat-scientists all excited is in the stripes—which to me look remarkably… the same. OK, I’ll admit it. I mix up my plaids and mismatch my argyle
socks, and I’m no scientist, but to me, the most striking thing about tabby cats and
their ancestors is how much they look alike! In fact, this “alikeness” accounts for
why we know so little about the early interactions of cats and people. Today’s housecats share an almost identical
genetic make-up with their wild ancestor—and one of the few ways to tell them apart is
by the markings on their coats, which generally don’t last long enough to be dug up in an
archeological site. Today’s cats come in different colors, like
orange and black and white, some even have patches. But one type of marking you won’t see in
your house cat—except two occasions I’ll tell you about later—is leopard spots. And the variations we do have didn’t come
about until breeders began intentionally developing them in the 1800’s. Before that, they pretty much left cats alone. Dogs were already long differentiated into
recognizable breeds, because over the years, we bred them to do specific jobs: fighting
bulldogs, herding shepherds, and sledding huskies. (Get off that sled, Huskie, I meant sled-pulling,
not sled riding.) But cats were already Purr-fect at their one
and only chosen profession, catching mice! Except, maybe, to get polka dots! Every house cat today is a Felis Catus and
Felis Catus is not related to any leopard. So, dot hungry breeders have crossed Felis
Catus with other species to get spotted offspring… with varying degrees of success. The Savannah Ocicat and Bengal are two examples. There’s debate over whether these make good
pets. They’re not legal everywhere. And… they might not be happy in your home. I recommend sticking with Felis Catus, available
wherever you see the “free kittens” sign. Or like Olive did, show up at your house unannounced
and refuse to leave, which is how she adopted me. But there was a time when dotted kitties chose
to live with us. Remember, cats self-domesticated. So, it makes sense that wherever we grew grain
and got mice, we’d get lucky: kitties would move in. Until recently, scientists believed that those
kitties were always Felis Catus. But — Recent excavations in the early farming village
Quanhucun, in central China, show that 5,000 years ago, Chinese farmers enjoyed the company
of Quanhucun cats. Unlike Felis Catus, these guys were descended
from “Leopard Cats” (like the genetically engineered Bengals.) So they had spots! Cool! Now, while the Chinese didn’t go as far
as worshiping any Cat deities, evidence dug up on the site shows that they cared for these
dotted felines. While the cats clearly ate grain-feeding rodents,
the farmers fed them as well. Archeologists even found one Quanhucun Cat
so carefully buried that its skeleton remained intact for thousands of years, proving that
someone thought it was pretty special. So, what happened to the Quanhucun cats? No one really knows. (Cats have always been mysterious.) Some people think that when those farmers
started trading, they learned about Felis Catus and kicked out the Quanhucun kitties
in favor of today’s tabby. Maybe stripes were in style. But, if you’ve ever heard the century old
folk song, “The Cat Came Back” you know that getting rid of a cat isn’t that easy. However, sometimes a cat will decide for herself
to trade a roof for the open sky. That’s called going “feral,” and you
can find feral cats living outdoors in many human communities. I’m inclined to agree with the scientists
who think that, for reasons of their own, Quanhucun cats de-domesticated themselves. Which just means they went feral and then… Took it a step further all the way to “wild.” Today, cats are the most popular pets in the
world. People in the U.S. alone love nearly 75 million
of them! And these pet-able pest-controllers think
we’re the cat’s meow— they choose to be with us: Well, I am so flattered! Hey, if you learned something new today, then
give the video a like and share it with a friend! And here are some other cool videos I think
you’ll enjoy. Just click to the left or right, and stay
on the Bright Side of life!

100 thoughts on “How Cats Domesticated Us Twice

  1. To 0.9% of ppl seeing this I hope you have a great day and take care dont let ppl tell you who you are because only you can decide that choice

  2. I was at Palestine and I was staring at the Bouncany at night,I saw a person with a hammer in all black I went screaming to my mom and my sister said she couldn't sleep cause I was saying hammer in my sleep.i was so scared could you try to find out about it

  3. I have two cats 1 calico and 1 tabby the calico always gives me a look like she is saying don't touch me peasant and the tabby just likes to annoy me

  4. there was no "agricultural revolution" we ate the food we got from plants at the beginning of human kind when God created us, it wasn't until about 2000 years later, after God sent a flood that he allowed us to eat the flesh of animals.

  5. I feel like the people who subscribed to this channel are a bunch of Innocent snowflakes and also in the comment section.

  6. My cat was a stray that I felt sorry for, so one day I left her a little bowl of food by the old building she lived under. Well…. fast forward a year later, she's now sleeping beside me on my couch! YES – she basically decided "hey human with the good fish, thanks. Now I'm gonna follow you home and move in with you." And she did… she's adorable though so I couldn't say no. Spoiled girl! ?

  7. ??‍♀️I have a tabby (grey/yellow mix) cat.
    She was born in a barn and she was a survivor of a house fire Nov 2011. I adopted her in 2011 and she's been such a loveable companion at my side all the time. I love her purring every night when we go to bed. What a sweet cat with a cute face!!! I love her so much! ???

  8. My cat in the house loves sitting on somebody's lap and sometimes
    And I trained him so he will come to somebody's lap if wanted he also wants to be peted by random person sometimes.
    Not sure if I trained him well though

  9. Our cat is awesome. Another animal was trying to attack my boyfriend and our cat jumped right the animal before it could hurt him and scared it off!
    She even watches over the both of us when we are sleeping make sure we are okay and safe! Got to Love her ♥️?

  10. BRIGHT SIDE REAL FANS THOKO LIKE ????aur guys today is my birthday ? can i just get 700 subscribers as a gift and blessing from you all. ????????

  11. Who do you like better?

    A big crazy mad dog

    or

    one beautiful no disease protecting people from rats and mice from diseases. Cats

  12. I didn’t come here because I love cats, I came here to learn about my greatest adversary. As someone who’s allergic, I think they’re the cutest evil beings alive. Thanks for the info!

  13. I have a cat named Tommy. My father hates it. He even makes it sleep outside, that too in these snowy nights.. It has got cough. It cant mew. My father is not allowing us to take it to the hospital. I am afraid if something will happen. I don't know what to do

  14. My orange tabby was 3 months old when I heard a loud meow outside my door….my mom opened up the door, he ran right past my mom and meowed at me until I picked him up. He turns 2 next month! He’s the love of my life ❤️

  15. My cat has a peanut size brain except my cat Timmy he watch me open the door I looked at him and he was reaching for the door ??

  16. Both cats and dogs are the best!!!!!
    The dogs around my house are still scared of my dog. ?
    My cat have at least bit and scratch them once ?

  17. Cats became self-domesticated because over time, they saw us as equals. Dogs, on the other hand, became co-dependent on us and saw us as alpha. I'd rather be on equal grounds to an animal, being a leader is too much pressure. But as a cat person who appreciates dogs on some level, I'll never fit into a pack, only a colony.

  18. I love how you think all cats is lazy even if my cat is so energetic and actually love me and that's just racists for cats

  19. I really doubt that cats are fully domesticated like dogs, because that would mean their survival depends on us.Cats don't need us to survive, but they enjoy the convienience of being served with regular food and lavished with affection.

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